Jury finds Madison Co. woman guilty of lesser charge in fatal crash

Caren Rush in court. (Source: WAFF)
Caren Rush in court. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A jury found Caren Rush guilty of manslaughter in the death of Emily Daye. She had been charged with murder.

Rush was driving when she crashed into Daye's vehicle in Harvest in 2012.

Rush had methamphetamine in her system and admitted to a state trooper that she took Xanax prior to the crash. She told the trooper she swerved because she was tired.

Rush's defense team argued that the wreck was an accident and that she dozed off behind the wheel. Her attorney said she had a prescription for the Xanax and the other drugs in Rush's system didn't play a role in the crash.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution argued Rush created a grave risk of death to other people by taking Xanax and meth before driving.

The jury began deliberating just before 9 a.m. Thursday morning. They had five options - reckless murder, reckless manslaughter, criminal negligence, criminally negligent homicide, or not guilty.

"We don't believe this case rose to the level of murder," said defense attorney Chris Messervy. "It is absolutely a tragic event that occurred, but murder and manslaughter are very different. I know my client is grateful it wasn't a murder conviction."

The prosecutor said she had the utmost respect for the jury, but it was still an upsetting day for her.

"This family is just a great family; they trusted our office," said prosecuting attorney Shauna Barnett. "It's hard when you're disappointed for a family."

Rush was out on parole at the time of the wreck. After the crash, her bond was revoked. She will remain in jail until sentencing, sometime within the next 30 days. She faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars and up to life in jail.

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